For Fans Of
It’s a tough feat to consistently drop solid releases, particularly when you’re up to your fifth. With so many eyes watching, it’s not uncommon for a band to bow out of the game for a little bit, or worse, to toddle off into the dissatisfying land of alienating experimentation.
Cancer Bats aren’t about phoning it in. The band’s latest LP ‘Searching For Zero’ powers from strength to strength, with their usual sonic diversity ensuring you don’t droop an eyelid once during the entire listen.
Throw your criticisms out there: “it’s repetitive”, “it’s not the same”, “Hail Destroyer is better”. It’s Cancer Bats doing what these unwell nocturnal mammals do, and if you don’t tap your foot at least once you’re listening at the wrong volume.
From head to toe, the record is equal parts punk, hardcore and headbang-inducing. Opener ‘Satellites’ has a build up that plays on the anticipation the album has already gathered, with catchy echoes and on-point production. ‘True Zero’ is imprinted with the almost-Southern-American (but definitely Canadian) accent of its vocals. The cherry on top is the intensity of the track’s pace; it drags you along with its tempo, but it doesn’t drag itself out. Likewise, ‘Dusted’ toys with timing, being a slower tune that contains its stormy yet crafted expression more interestingly. ‘Cursed With A Conscience’ is another slow burner, but trust us when we say it’s about as soft as sandpaper.
As is the way of Cancer Bats, their sound isn’t so refined that raw, unrestrained hardcore is excluded. The pressing screams on ‘Arsenic in TYOTS’ proves that point, as do ‘Devil’s Blood’ and the coarse and caustic banger ‘All Hail’.
Aside from that, the other aspect of the LP worth mentioning is its guitars. On ‘Arsenic’ they slip into sludge, and they’re noticeably placed both carefully and effectively on ‘Beelzebub’. Fun fact: despite the fact that the title ‘Beelzebub’ sounds like the name of a Harry Potter spell, it’s actually just a name for the Devil (albeit one of the least intimidating we’ve ever heard). For further reference on these slamdunk guitars, see the immense riffage on ‘Buds’.
The closer of the album steers it all to a halt with a battering, fluctuating and furious conclusion. Some of this album is catchy and melodic, while other parts are unique and incomparable. After swimming through different genres and sounds, this song just feels like Cancer Bats are bringing it home.
‘Searching For Zero’ is an album that boasts a clean yet rough sound and a sustained angst that presents itself in different forms every song. Brutal at some points and vexed at others, it certainly knows how to be direct. It’s not Cancer Bats’ best, but it sure as hell isn’t their worst; in fact, if they keep bringing it this strong, they’re not heading downhill anytime soon.
2. True Zero
3. Arsenic in TYOTS
5. Devil’s Blood
6. Cursed With A Conscience
7. All Hail
10. No More Bull Shit